By Claire Unis with contributions from FlexMedStaff

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Many physicians believe the curriculum vitae (CV)  represents the most integral aspect of applying for new opportunities. Post-pandemic, more physicians than ever are exploring ways to leave their current positions in clinical medicine. Some are looking to practice medicine differently, while others are looking to escape the practice of medicine with part-time and full-time non-clinical roles. 

As the applicant pool of physicians looking to make career changes has grown, applying for new opportunities has become more competitive. This is especially true for positions in telemedicine and non-clinical roles in utilization management, med-legal review, and industry consulting. You must have a great CV and cover letter to apply for these positions. But is that enough?  

So how can you stand out from other applicants if everyone has a great CV?

It starts with building excellent content.

The origins of the CV date back to the Middle Ages. Initially, rather than put it all on paper, skilled artisans would display a portfolio of their work to prospective employers.  But Leonardo Da Vinci transformed the CV into the format we recognize today. He was believed to be the first to list his professional background, skills, and previous work history on paper to hand out to others to garner more business. 

Now that so many of us have followed in Da Vinci’s footsteps and produced exemplary CVs, it is difficult to stand out based on this document alone. We propose that those interested in new opportunities go beyond the CV and start producing individual content to stand out from other candidates. Like the skilled artisans from the Middle Ages, it’s time to display your portfolio of work. Building content about the topics that interest you will augment your impressive CV – and help you become more experienced in the work you hope to perform.

There are several ways to enhance your portfolio:

Create online articles. These days it is relatively easy to get well-written work published on online forums. Do some research and put a unique spin on a topic that interests you. You can write an article with less than 1,000 words and submit it to online platforms such as SoMeDocs, KevinMD, MedMic, and Medpage Today. You can also speak with the website administrators to learn what you could write for them.

Design a website. It is easy to design your own website (and often free!). You can build one yourself or pay a few hundred dollars for someone to do it for you. A professional-appearing website built with original content will help make you stand out from others. Think of it as a modern version of a business card and an easy way to display your accomplishments all in one place. 

Publish in peer-reviewed and societal journals. Although getting published in peer-reviewed journals can be more tedious, specialty journals still get read. You could spend the time publishing a new study or providing an op-ed on the current state of healthcare or other studies that have been done.

Act as a source for a reporter. There are reporters from news agencies and journals that are always looking for an expert to comment on something in healthcare. As a physician, you could be quoted in an article. This is an easy way to be featured, yet it does not require much effort. You can check out HARO and other websites that feature experts for reporters to connect with.

Write a book. Stand out from others by writing a book demonstrating your commitment to and knowledge about a topic. With simple ways to self-publish a book online, it is easier than it once was to become a published author. 

Participate in a podcast. Either be a guest on a podcast or start your own. Allow your voice to be heard!

Socialize on social media. Become a recognized voice by staying active on your social media accounts. You will be recognized for your unique content and the value you can add to conversations online. Spend time learning about social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Doctors On Social Media is another platform that offers frequent opportunities to network.

Oral presentations or Teaching. Speaking at a local or national societal meeting or conference can help you build name recognition. Or you can lecture for local residency programs or medical schools, depending on your area of expertise. Video clips can be invaluable additions to your portfolio if your future career involves public speaking in any form. 

Start an internship or apprenticeship. Too often, we focus on money and forget that without experience, we may not be worth anything to anyone. Sometimes it is worth shadowing or volunteering to get your feet wet in a new industry, especially as this can help you build connections in that field. It is also reasonable to initially work for less pay while gaining valuable experience.

Education. Go back to school! Taking courses at a university or enrolling in an online Masters program may open new opportunities, demonstrating to future employers that you are interested in continuing to learn and grow your skill set.

Final thoughts:

In addition to building a great CV, consider enhancing your portfolio of content and experience so you can shine in this highly competitive market of applicants. Extensive activities will help you stand out to future employers and will catch the eye of others on social media and professional networking sites. Your portfolio may score you your next opportunity! So what are you waiting for?

***Claire Unis is a practicing pediatrician, author, and teacher. As a communication coach, she assists other physicians in developing their writing skills and preparing articles for publication. You can connect with Claire at her website

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